Manuscripts Division
William L. Clements Library
University of Michigan

Finding aid for
New York Woman's Travel Journal, 1888-1889

Finding aid created by
Clements Staff and Meg Hixon, October 2011

Summary Information
Title: New York Woman's travel journal
Creator: Anonymous
Inclusive dates: 1888-1889
Extent: 1 volume
The New York Woman's travel journal chronicles two trips undertaken by a woman and her father. In March and April 1888, the pair traveled across the country to New Orleans, and in June 1889 to Scotland and England.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: William L. Clements Library, University of Michigan
909 S. University Ave.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1190
Phone: 734-764-2347
Web Site:

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

1991. M-2614.

Access Restrictions:

The collection is open for research.


Copyright status is unknown

Processing Information:

Cataloging funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). This collection has been processed according to minimal processing procedures and may be revised, expanded, or updated in the future.

Preferred Citation:

New York Woman's Travel Journal, William L. Clements Library, The University of Michigan


The author of this volume, a young woman from New York, accompanied her father on visits to Mississippi and Louisiana in the spring of 1888 and to Scotland and England in the summer of 1889.

Collection Scope and Content Note

The New York Woman's travel journal chronicles two trips undertaken by a woman and her father. In March and April 1888, the pair traveled across the country to New Orleans (pp. 1-52), and in June 1889 to Scotland and England (pp. 54-93). The cover of the volume bears a silver inlaid illustration entitled "Composition," and opens with the father and daughter embarking on a Pullman car on March 19, 1888, bound for "the West" from Jersey City. During their railroad journey, they traveled through Philadelphia, Indianapolis, and St. Louis, where they remained for a short stopover before heading south. Between St. Louis and Little Rock, their train collided with another vehicle, killing an engineer and delaying their arrival in the Arkansas capital, where they stayed for an additional week. The 12-page narrative of this leg of the trip is colored by anecdotes and descriptions of fellow passengers, and is followed by a lengthy account of the pair's time in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and in New Orleans. In Vicksburg, the tourists made note of Civil War-era caves used during the city's siege, and visited a Civil War cemetery, which the author found profoundly moving. Once in "thoroughly Southern" New Orleans, the writer described in detail the sights and sounds of the city, and frequently mentioned popular tourist destinations; she also noted the "swarms of little darkies" and other African Americans she encountered throughout her time in the city. She and her father left New Orleans on the steamboat Knickerbocker on April 19, and returned to New York via the Gulf of Mexico and along the Atlantic Coast; upon her return, she reflected briefly on the positive impact the trip had on her worldview.

The second portion of the volume is titled "Letters written during our stay in England and Scotland in the summer of 1889," and is about the author's transatlantic voyage from New York to Glasgow on the State of Georgia , and the opening stages of her European adventures. After writing about the pleasant 12-day voyage, the diarist described several sights throughout Scotland, including a detailed depiction of Edinburgh Castle, complete with a brief history of the structure. York was their next destination, and they moved thence by rail to London, where sightseeing resumed in full force. The pair, along with a traveling companion named Leslie, proceeded to take in a thorough tourist's view of London, including several bus trips around the city and the requisite visits to St. Margaret's Church and Westminster Abbey. While in Europe, the author often reflected on how easily she was identified as an American, and on local social customs. The volume also recalls a visit to the British Museum to see the Magna Carta (pp. 92-93), but its final entry, dated July 4, 1889, is cut off just as the author catches a glimpse of Queen Victoria at a garden party.

Subject Terms

    • Edinburgh (Scotland)--Description and travel.
    • Glasgow (Scotland)
    • Little Rock (Ark.)
    • London (England)--Description and travel.
    • Mississippi River--Description and travel.
    • New Orleans (La.)--Description and travel.
    • New Orleans (La.)--History.
    • Railroad travel--United States.
    • Saint Louis (Mo.)--History.
    • Steamboats--History.
    Genre Terms:
    • Diaries.
    Contents List
    Container / Location Title
    Volume   1  
    New York Woman's travel journal,  1888-1889 [series]